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Leanne O'Sullivan

A Quarter of an Hour

Leanne O'Sullivan

Publication Date : 22 Feb 2018

ISBN: 9781780372228

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Winner of the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award 2019

Shortlisted for the Pigott Poetry Prize 2019 in association with Listowel Writers' Week

Shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2019

In 2013, Leanne O’Sullivan’s husband Andrew suffered a severe infection in his brain. He spent just over three weeks in a coma, during which time his temperature soared to 42 degrees. When he finally woke it immediately became clear that his memory had been almost completely destroyed; he didn’t even know his wife. More present and visual to him were the birds and wild animals that he believed he could see during his recovery: foxes, wildcats and herons – animals that seemed to be guiding him back.

This became the starting point for poems that deal not simply with personal memory and recovery, but also the ways in which, collectively, even globally, we are trying (or not) to save entire species of plants and animals that we are now actually losing because of human activity. Nature has a voice that can speak back. This is a collection that celebrates the earth’s intoxicating wildness as well as the richness and preciousness of human experience. Overall, we can rejoice in the fact that we’re here, whatever the challenges.

“Leanne O’Sullivan is possessed of a haunting lyric voice which, in A Quarter of an Hour, draws us into an area of surface tension where personal crisis – a husband stricken and then recovering from a deadly illness – interacts with our experience of the non-human. Dawn, the poem that gives the book its particular title and focus, captures in its evocation of the dawning world the ‘here to not here’ of becoming; and as readers we are given access throughout to that dimension between the mundane and the mythic that normally eludes articulation, but here finds expression in limpid, precise poems. At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement.' -  Maurice Riordan, Co-Judge of the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award in March 2019

‘It’s been a wonderful year for poetry, and if I had to pick one book, I’d pick Leanne O’Sullivan’s A Quarter of an Hour.  It follows her husband Andrew, who had a terrible brain infection… and she’s made a most marvellous book of love poems out of the conversation with Andrew.’ – Theo Dorgan, speaking to Joe Duffy on Liveline, RTE Radio 1 (Books of the Year 2018)

'I loved... Leanne O'Sullivan's beautifully imagined and well-made account of her husband's recovery from illness, A Quarter of an Hour.' - John McAuliffe, The Irish Times (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

A Quarter of an Hour, O’Sullivan’s fourth collection, traces his [her husband Andrew’s] illness and recovery with dream-like lucidity, weaving together images of hospitals with those of the natural world, and paying painterly attention to subtleties of light and dark.’ – Suzannah V. Evans, Times Literary Supplement

'Death and re-birth are given a mythic, brightly timeless evocation in Leanne O'Sullivan's A Quarter of an Hour, in which the brain infection, coma, and slow recovery of the poet's husband, Andrew, become a journey to the Underworld... O'Sullivan has not only found a way into this painful terrain, but has transformed it, in poems that are revelatory and strangely uplifting.' - Helen Meany, Poetry Ireland Review

‘The poems in the collection are… accessible, and yet multi-layered. To reach this degree of apparent simplicity while also rewarding the attentive reader with subtle echoes and variations is remarkable. So is the delicate balance between emotional tension and restraint that the poems achieve. A Quarter of an Hour is a rich, nuanced, and powerful volume, which confirms Leanne O'Sullivan's mastery of her art.’ - Florence Impens, Dublin Review of Books

'In each of her four books, Leanne O’Sullivan has managed the balancing act of fashioning striking individual poems while developing a book-length project. Skilful and soulful, her achievements as a writer are as clear as ever in her powerful new book, A Quarter of an Hour.' -  John McAuliffe, The Irish Times

‘The incremental power of A Quarter of an Hour builds into an examination of our humanity when it is at its strongest, when life is threatened.’ – Cork Evening Echo

‘Leanne O’Sullivan’s A Quarter of an Hour is a set of love poems, a meditation on language, and also a delicate and urgent testament to the natural world and the body’s place within it. Charting her husband’s illness and recovery, O’Sullivan’s work is lucid and otherworldly… These poems are so memorable in their myth-making, and so deft in their handling of intimate experience, that they stay in the mind long after reading. Brave not only for the depth of their searching, but also for their honest and unabashed joy, these are poems that deserve a wide readership.’  - Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times (best books by women of the 21st century)

‘A love poem that has especially stayed with me over the last year is ‘Note’ by Leanne O’Sullivan. The final poem in her marvellous collection A Quarter of an Hour, I find it deeply moving, most of all for the line ‘For I have singled you out from the whole world’. Like a single explosive act, this points up the caprice of any life, articulating the notion of the great good fortune we may have to meet ‘the one’ in this staggering universe of ours. It’s even more affecting when we know that it’s about the poet’s husband’s long and shocking illness which caused him to fall into a coma and to lose his memory. Like many good poems, it fills us with a sense of the expansive possibility of life and of the place within it of those whom we are lucky to love.’ – Maureen Kennelly, Director of Poetry Ireland, in The Irish Times , 14 February 2019

Leanne O'Sullivan reads 'Note' in the film below:

 

Leanne O'Sullivan reads from A Quarter of an Hour

Leanne O'Sullivan reads her poem 'Note' from A Quarter of an Hour in the University College Dublin Special Collections Reading Room, as part of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

 

Leanne O'Sullivan reads The Mining Road and other poems

Leanne O'Sullivan begins this short film by reading 'The Cord' from her debut collection, Waiting for My Clothes (2004). Then she talks about her second collection, Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (2009) and reads one poem from it, 'Birth'. An Cailleach Bhéarra, or the Hag of Beara, is a wise woman figure embedded in the physical and mental landscape of western Ireland. A large rock rests on the ridge overlooking Ballycrovane Harbour on the Beara peninsula, said to be the petrified body of the Cailleach; she has had several lives, beginning each life with a birth from her stony form – and returning to stone at the end. Leanne then reads six poems from The Mining Road (2013), in which she finds inspiration in the disused copper mines that haunt the rugged terrain around Allihies, near her home: 'Townland', 'The Mining Road', 'Love Stories', 'Antique Cabinets', 'Sea Level' (from 'Man Engine'), ‘Safe House’ and 'The Glimmerman'. Neil Astley filmed this reading in February 2012 at the O'Sullivan family farm at Beara, West Cork, where Leanne O'Sullivan grew up. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed and edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).
 

Leanne O'Sullivan reads at Dublin Writers' Festival

Leanne O'Sullivan reads one poem from her debut collection Waiting for My Clothes, 'The Cord', followed by five poems from her second collection Cailleach: The Hag of Beara: 'Sister', 'Lost', 'Rapture', 'The Dancing Rooms' and 'The Return'. The film shows excerpts from her reading at the Project Arts Centre in the Dublin Writers' Festival on 6 June 2009.

 

  

BOOKS BY Leanne O'Sullivan

Cailleach

Leanne O'Sullivan

Cailleach

The Hag of Beara

Publication Date : 27 Jan 2009

Read More   amazon.co.uk
The Mining Road

Leanne O'Sullivan

The Mining Road

Publication Date : 25 Apr 2013

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Waiting for My Clothes

Leanne O'Sullivan

Waiting for My Clothes

Publication Date : 30 Sep 2004

Read More   amazon.co.uk

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